Exfoliating is a great way to help detox your skin and revitalize your bright complexion. With so many options available, it’s hard to know where to start.
Exfoliating is the process of removing dead or damaged skin cells in order to promote new cell turnover, to leave you with the appearance of fresh, glowing skin. Exfoliation can help with the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots or pigmentation, and can even help to clear up acne.
Not only is it a great detox method for your skin, it can actually help your skincare products work better, because your skin is cleansed and unclogged.
There are two main types of exfoliants:
- Physical Exfoliants - These sometimes bead-like elements are the exfoliants that you see in products like face scrubs and masks. These are popular because they can quickly remove dead skin cells, and you don’t have to wait as long for results. They also help promote blood flow and circulation because of the granular and textural nature of the beads, which can result in an extra boost to your skin!
- Chemical Exfoliants - Chemical exfoliants often come in the form of serums, face peels, or overnight masks. There are two different types of chemical exfoliants called AHA (Alpha-Hydroxy Acid) and BHA (Beta-Hydroxy Acid). Both of these help to chemically remove dead skin cells through their own process.
AHA works by promoting skin cells turnover, and shedding off damaged skin by breaking bonds between the most superficial layer of your skin and the underlying skin below.
BHA works by tackling your outermost layer of skin, as well as helping to clean and cleanse your pores and ultimately unclog them because of its oil-based form. BHA is a good choice for people with normal to oily skin types, as the main ingredient, salicylic acid, can be left on the skin for a longer time period.
Enzymes from fruits like pineapple and papaya are a fantastic way to exfoliate your skin. Less harsh than alternative exfoliants, they work by triggering a specific skincare reaction that causes dead skin cells to fall off, without disrupting the delicate pH balance of the skin. Overall, they are less likely than chemical exfoliants to irritate or damage the skin.
Which exfoliant is right for me?
If you’re looking for a quick detox and removal of skin cells, physical exfoliants can be a great option. If you are getting ready for a date night, job interview, or important meeting and don’t have time to wait for the chemical detox, these are a quick fix. Physical exfoliants are also not as likely to interact with other skincare products as they tend not to be chemical based. Plus, with extra blood circulation, you’ll get a fresh glow.
Chemical exfoliants are great for helping with dark spots, acne, or uneven skin tone. Plus, they can also be gentler on the skin because the exfoliation process doesn’t involve having to rub the skin, which may make it a better alternative to those with sensitive skin. If you’re out in the sun often and using a chemical exfoliant, it's really important always to wear sunscreen, since these increase sun sensitivity and so the risk of sun damage.
Some of our favorite exfoliant skincare routines contain a mixture of both physical exfoliants and enzyme exfoliants to boost cell regeneration, support the skin's natural barrier and promote renewal at the same time.
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